In line with our mantra you’re never too old to be young at heart, we are spending a bit of time focusing on ways to bring your inner youth and beauty out. One way that we like to express the inward beauty and appreciate the outward beauty is through art. Many of us do not feel like we the “creative type”, but we want to encourage you to find a way to express yourself through different forms of art, as the potential to be creative really is inside of all of us. For inspiration, we spoke with Mississippi-born artist, Kimberly Allred.
A born and raised Mississippian, Kimberly attended The University of Mississippi where she received a bachelor’s degree in International Studies and Spanish and a Master’s in Business Administration. In the years following college, she created a side business from her love for art in the midst of a corporate job. Selling her work in a gift shop in Tupelo, Mississippi, she began to grow a following and now paints mostly commissioned pieces and live events.
With a full-time job in Economic Development, she steals time to work on her hobby in the evenings and on weekends. She finds that art truly brings such an escape from the grind of day to day life and the process of transforming a blank canvas into a piece of art through every stroke of a brush therapeutic.
A self-taught calligrapher, Kimberly learned the art of hand lettering while planning for her own wedding. From mixing inks to creating invitations and crests to transcribing beautiful words to be framed for a lifetime, she is so passionate about the little details and nuances of every hand lettered piece.
Kimberly now resides in Atlanta with her husband Brandon and is an active member of their small community north of Atlanta Metroplex. You can find her work online at kimberlyallred.com or on her Instagram page @ksallred.
Let’s see what a non-schooled artist has to say about practicing art!
EA- What inspired you to start painting?
KA- A lover of art for as long as I can remember, I always found art to be so representative of the richness of life. Whether I was in a museum or at a local art fair, art moved me. I dabbled with paints and canvases in high school, but it was not until after college that I really began pursuing my small passion. I wanted to fill the walls of my home with art, but was living on quite a budget, so I thought, why not create my own artwork? It was a little scary at first because putting paint on a canvas felt so permanent. After I hung that first piece on my wall, I would walk past and think, “maybe I should change that bit there,” or “maybe that grey patch would look better if it was blue”. After a few revisions, I realized that there was such freedom in the knowledge that if there was a part of the painting I didn’t like, I could take the painting down and work on it some more!
A few months after I finally felt that the piece was finished enough to hang on my wall, one of my sweet friends asked if she could buy the piece. At that point, I remember thinking- I might could make this into something. From that time forward, I have slowly built a little business out of my hobby. I feel so fortunate that I am able to create pieces of work that will hang in homes for years to come.
EA- Tell us a little about your art.
KA- My sweet spot is painting with acrylics on stretched canvas. I love using lots of layers and often paint with palette knives for a textured look. I typically paint abstracted versions of buildings, scenes, and subjects that represent the South. As a proud, displaced Mississippian, I love to tell a story about the South through my art.
I also love commission art and really attempt to make every piece unique. I want people to really resonate with the pieces of art I paint and want to use my art to help lift people up. Whether it’s a painting of their pet or a scene from their special wedding day or a hand-lettered verse or lyrics from a favorite song, I hope that my art is not only decor but something that carries great significance and speaks to their soul in a way.
EA- What advice do you have for someone trying to find an art that they love?
KA- Look at the things you are already doing and ENJOY doing, and work to develop that! If you are unsure, stop and reflect on the activities you do that make you come alive. Art can be so many different things- from cooking to exercising to painting to writing. You do not necessarily have to have an outward facing art, either. Your art can be something you simply do to destress or to express the condition of your heart. Also, do not feel like you have to make money doing your art for your art to be valuable. If what you are doing is helping focus your energy into something outside of yourself, then it is a means of self-expression that is very valuable to your overall mental and emotional health. It is so much more about the process!